Biden takes aim at ‘economic disaster’ overseen by Trump

Tyler Pager

Joe Biden assailed Donald Trump’s stewardship of the economy on Friday, arguing that the president’s misguided priorities have exacerbated the damage of the coronavirus crisis and will prolong the recovery efforts.

Speaking hours after the release of the worst monthly jobs report since the Great Depression, Biden promoted his economic ideas in broad strokes, centered on strengthening the middle class, and contrasted it to Trump’s focus on the wealthy and the powerful.

The 12-minute speech livestreamed by NowThis, a youth-focused news organization, was light on policy details. Biden said he would be releasing more detailed economic plans in the coming weeks.

Instead, the presumptive Democratic nominee focused mostly on what he sees as Trump’s mishandling of the economy, an issue the president has presented as his strongest asset for re-election.

“This crisis will hit harder and will last longer because Donald Trump spent the last three years undermining the core pillars of our economic strength,” Biden said.

The former vice president emphasized his experience in the Obama administration handling the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008-2009, an argument he hopes will resonate with voters increasingly worried about the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said Trump’s economic agenda has failed because of his reliance on using the stock market as the main measure of economic progress. He said the president is too focused on helping the wealthy and corporations. Biden also said Trump reneged on his campaign promises of helping the “forgotten middle class.”

“Trump was already well into the process of hollowing out a good economy we left him long before the first case of coronavirus,” Biden said. “The numbers looked good but underneath those numbers, things were eroding. This pandemic has laid bare just how much damage Trumps has done just over three years because Donald Trump has gotten this virus response all wrong.”

Biden, calling it the “corrupt recovery,” said Trump has prioritized his wealthy friends and political allies and has hid the truth about the distribution of taxpayer money by firing the inspector general responsible for overseeing the relief packages.

“It turns out corruption is a feature of this economic agenda, not a bug,” he said.Biden said he would focus on rebuilding the middle class, But he did not offer any new specific policies, instead emphasizing a list of core Democratic policy goals, including paid sick leave, childcare support, new green jobs, affordable health care and stronger unions.

“It’s time to make sure everyone gets a fair shot at success, not just the Mar-a-Lago crowd,” Biden said, referring to Trump’s Florida estate.

On Friday, the Labor Department said the economy lost more than 20.5 million jobs in April, sending the unemployment rate to a skyrocketing 14.7%. During the last recession, unemployment peaked at 10% in October 2009. April’s losses erased roughly all the jobs added over the past decade, with an outsize impact on lower-paid workers, women and minorities.

Trump said in a Friday interview on “Fox & Friends” that the jobs “will all be back and they’ll be back very soon,” predicting next year would be “phenomenal.”

Biden said the numbers showed the crisis was an “economic disaster” that was made “all the worse because it didn’t have to be this way.”